Resting heart rate is normal

High pulse increases risk of heart attack

Status: 16.12.2019 8:06 p.m.

Anyone who has a high resting heart rate over the long term is at greater risk of suffering a heart attack. In this way, the normal heart rate can be determined and a weak heart can be trained properly.

Cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction, heart failure and arteriosclerosis are the number one cause of death in Germany. According to studies, a risk factor is not only high blood pressure, but also a high pulse. The frequent beating is stressful on the heart and can lead to earlier death.

People with a low resting heart rate live longer

A study by the Saarbrücken University Hospital shows that healthy people with a low heart rate live longer than people with a high resting heart rate: Those who go through life with a resting heart rate of more than 70 beats per minute have a 60 percent higher risk in the next nine Years to die.

Which pulse is normal?

60 to 90 beats per minute is considered a normal pulse rate. But a healthy heart does not beat as consistently as a metronome. The heart rate depends on many factors, especially age, exertion and level of training. In top athletes, the heart beats only about 40 times per minute when at rest, recreational athletes have a pulse of 60 to 70, and untrained people have a pulse of over 80. A permanently high pulse is a sign of poor fitness. This can have various causes: smoking, high consumption of coffee and alcohol, too little endurance sport.

Why the pulse fluctuates

A well-trained heart can beat more slowly at rest because it pumps very vigorously and transports a lot of blood per beat. A weak heart, on the other hand, has relatively little ejection per beat and therefore has to beat more often.

Top athletes can achieve pulse peaks of over 200, moderately trained only 180. A weak heart can only beat 160 beats and only manages to eject part of the blood due to its lower pumping power.

The body stimulates the heart by releasing stress hormones while pumping less so that the same amount of blood can be expelled through more pulse beats. Therefore, if a heart beats continuously with 140 beats and if this is not treated for weeks, heart failure can result.

Strong fluctuations are positive

The greater the range between resting and exercise pulse, the greater the reserve. It is important that the heart can adapt well to stressful situations. Doctors speak of pulse modulation. If the pulse rate does not increase as strongly as it would be normal under physical exertion, this is an alarm signal: the autonomic nervous system, which is supposed to keep the heart in balance, is attacked.

A sweak heart does not come to rest at night

In healthy people, the heart rate drops during the night when the body switches to sleep mode and needs less blood. A weak heart, on the other hand, does not rest even at night and continues to beat 80 times per minute. Low, rigid pulse modulation is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and sudden cardiac death. It often occurs in diabetics. Even stress-afflicted people who are about to burn out often show such pathological heart rate variability with a high and rigid pulse.

A high resting heart rate can be a warning sign

An increased resting heart rate is often a sign of an internal illness such as diabetes, high blood pressure or being overweight. The increased pulse is not the cause, but a concomitant phenomenon because the body tries to maintain an optimal supply right down to the fingertips - whether with oxygen or with insulin. So that enough gets everywhere, the heart pumps more often.

Measure your resting heart rate correctly

With regular heart rate monitoring, everyone can check their fitness level and that of their heart. Even without technical assistance, the resting heart rate is very easy to measure: sit down relaxed, do nothing for five minutes and then feel the heart rate with a measuring device or with two fingers on your wrist. Count the beats for 15 seconds, then multiply by four. The result is the resting heart rate.

Increase the range of the pulse rate

  • Next healthy diet also wear Relaxation exercises such as autogenic training, biofeedback, breathing training or tai chi help to increase the range of the pulse rate.
  • Who one healthy heart should do endurance sports regularly to strengthen the heart and lower the pulse rate.
  • Who one weakened heart training has to be more cautious - demanding the heart, but not making it race. An alternation between exertion and rest is ideal. The heart learns to beat stronger and faster during the exertion phase and then to recover quickly afterwards. In the long run it then has to hit less and less because it gets stronger.

Protect the heart with sport

The resting heart rate is a measure of the fitness level: Those who are well trained have a resting heart rate of less than 70 or, even better, less than 60. That speaks for a good state of health. If the resting heart rate is permanently higher, this should be an occasion to see a doctor and do something for your fitness and thus for your heart.

Endurance training is crucial, i.e. exercise for at least 20 minutes at a constant intensity. This lowers the resting heart rate, strengthens the heart muscle and ensures that the body reacts more calmly to adrenaline.

Endurance sports such as jogging, swimming or cycling are ideal - ideally three times a week. The rule of thumb here is that six months of exercise can lower the resting heart rate by around five beats per minute. In the long run, consistent training can even reduce your resting heart rate by up to 20 beats. However, it is important not to stop, otherwise the effect will quickly subside and after a few weeks the resting heart rate will rise again.

There are special cardiac sports groups for people with heart disease, in which they can safely train under guidance and supervision.

Experts on the subject

Dr. Melanie Hümmelgen, specialist in internal medicine and cardiology
Senior physician in the cardiology department and deputy medical director
Rehabilitation Center Hamburg
Martinistrasse 66
20246 Hamburg
(0 40) 25 30 63-505

Dr. Helge Riepenhof, chief physician
Center for Rehabilitation Medicine and Interdisciplinary Sports Medicine
BG Hospital Hamburg
Bergedorfer Strasse 10, 21033 Hamburg
(040) 73 06-28 11

Prof. Dr. Stefan Blankenberg, director
Clinic and Polyclinic for General and Interventional Cardiology
University Heart Center Hamburg GmbH
University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf
Martinistrasse 52
20246 Hamburg
(040) 74 10-56 800

Prof. Dr. Norbert Frey, director
Clinic for Internal Medicine III with a focus on cardiology, angiology and internal intensive care medicine
University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein - Campus Kiel
Arnold-Heller-Strasse 3
24105 Kiel
(0431) 500-22 800

Prof. Dr. Samuel Tobias Sossalla, Senior Consultant in Charge
Clinic and Polyclinic for Internal Medicine II
University Hospital Regensburg
Franz-Josef-Strauss-Allee 11
93053 Regensburg

Sabrina Bittkau, managing director
Herz InForm - Hamburg Society for Prevention and Rehabilitation of Cardiovascular Diseases e. V.
Humboldtstrasse 56
22083 Hamburg
(040) 22 802-364

additional Information
German Heart Foundation V.
Bockenheimer Landstrasse 94-96
60323 Frankfurt am Main
(069) 955128 0

German Society for Prevention and Rehabilitation of Cardiovascular Diseases e.V.
Friedrich-Ebert-Ring 38
56068 Koblenz
(0261) 30 92 31
Information about cardiac sports groups nationwide

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Visit | December 17, 2019 | 8:15 pm